In the '80s, a friend of mine knew a Russian dissident who was always heatedly denouncing the Soviet Union and assuring everyone that he had been completely immune to Soviet propaganda. Then one day, after returning from the Wright Brothers museum in North Carolina, he smugly informed my friend that Americans have their own propaganda: "You think the Wright brothers invented flight ? ha ha ? everyone knows that was the Mozhaisky brothers!"
This is what Republicans are like today. They swear up and down not to trust the liberal media, but as soon as that very media demonize some Republican, half our party is ready to dump him. Currently the Republican liberals would most like to see gone is Dick Cheney. There's a basketful of Republicans I'd be very pleased to see removed from office. Dick Cheney ain't one of them.
Another candidate liberals told us was a disaster for the party was Ronald Wilson Reagan. In 1976, Newsweek's Hal Bruno said Republican "party loyalists" feared that Reagan would produce "a Goldwater-style debacle from which there is no comeback." Though the "Republican right wing" was gleeful at the prospect of a real conservative like Reagan purifying the party, Bruno wrote, "it could be a purification indistinguishable from suicide."
In polls of the Democratic and Republican National Committees taken by U.S. News and World Report in early 1980, Democrats overwhelmingly claimed to believe George Herbert Walker Bush was a more formidable candidate than Reagan. "We HOPE they'll run Reagan," liberals said.
Taking their cue on "electability" from the Democrats ? always a great idea! ? a majority of Republican committeemen also thought future one-termer Bush was more "electable." (If only Al D'Amato had been around, he could have recommended dropping Reagan and replacing him with Colin Powell or John McCain.)
Pay attention to what happened next: Reagan went on to win two landslide elections for president, transform the nation's politics, and dismantle the Democrats' favorite country, the USSR. He not only never lost a general election, Reagan also never won by less than a landslide margin. Reagan's triumph was then promptly jettisoned by Mr. "Electable," who broke his "read my lips" pledge and unceremoniously ended the Republicans' 12-year control of the White House.
Other Republicans we've been told were a disaster for the party are Newt Gingrich ? who produced the jaws-of-life to tear Congress from the Democrats ? and Ken Starr ? who was responsible for the impeachment and utter humiliation of Bill Clinton.
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